Need help restoring Vibroplex Brass Racer: Hinge pin removal?

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by W3IG, Dec 7, 2019.

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  1. W3IG

    W3IG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Has anyone ever replaced a hinge pin on a Vibroplex Racer? It appears to be pressed into the vertical block but I can't get the darn thing to budge. The nipple on the end broke off so I need to replace the pin. $3 from Vibroplex, IF I can get the old one out. Any suggestions?
  2. W0KDT

    W0KDT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    ask them.
    1 person likes this.
  3. W3IG

    W3IG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I called and left a message. They don't answer the phone. I'll try email in a bit but I'm sure I won't get a reply now till Monday or after.
  4. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page



    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  5. W3IG

    W3IG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oh! That's the wrong Racer. I have this one. The triangle one is out of production but they still make a square version of the same thing. The hinge pins are the center-most on the verticle block. There are four of them. they look loose in this pic but on mine they are pressed in tight.[​IMG]
  6. K7MEM

    K7MEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's interesting that someone else, besides me, misread the title. Initially I read it as "Vibroplex Blue Racer", instead of "Vibroplex Brass Racer". I have a 1916 VIbroplex Blue Racer, so it was foremost in my mind. But I guess that's the first thing that goes.
  7. W3IG

    W3IG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, Scott from Vibroplex says there are no more brass parts. I'm going to order chrome and see about polishing off the chrome.

    Word from Vibroplex is that nobody wants these brass racers anymore. Wonder why?
  8. K7MH

    K7MH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The four pins seem to be press fit into the vertical block. Could be some work to get it out. You may have to use a vise grip. That pin is already broken so I wouldn't worry about being too rough with pulling it out. Putting a new one in might be a chore too if it is a very tight fit. Rather than remove the chrome from one pin I would rather replace all four and leave them chrome if they are chromed. The pins in my triangle Brass Racer are steel. Chrome pins would just be shinier.
    Working around the four pins when polishing the vertical block was a PITA.
    You can see mine on my lookup page.
    They say no one wants the triangle racer? Probably more to it than that. Sounds like lip service.
  9. K5DH

    K5DH Ham Member QRZ Page

    If the pins are press-fit into the block as they appear to be, you might be able to remove them with the help of a heat gun. Last month, I used my cheap Harbor Freight heat gun to help me dislodge stuck tie rod ends on my old Ford pickup truck. I hammered away on that pickle fork for several minutes with a 4 lb. hammer, and it looked like no amount of that was going to budge them. But 5 minutes of heating and they popped right out as the metal expanded from the heating. I'd seen this done before using an oxy-acetylene torch, but I wasn't sure the heat gun would work. It did! Anyway, getting back to your paddle dilemma, lock the brass block in a vise (protect the metal with a towel or something to keep the vise teeth from damaging it), lock vise-grip pliers onto the pin, then apply the heat. It may take a while. Worth a try!
    K7MH likes this.
  10. W3IG

    W3IG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the ideas. I already tried those things. It's screwed good and propper. I figure the only way to get those pins out is to drill in from the other side and hammer them out with a drift punch. I may fall back on that option and replace the pins with screws.

    The problem with the chrome is its the brass that's chrome, not the pins.

    My ultimate last resort would be to machine a new brass vertical block from scratch, and buy new pins from Vibroplex. At first glance it doesn't appear to be a complicated piece. Interference-fit pins are easy to install with a freezer & oven or dry ice if necessary.

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